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About the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World

The Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, housed within the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, conducts public policy research and convenes briefings, panel discussions, and major international conferences focusing on the critical issues facing the United States and the Muslim world.

The project seeks to engage and inform policymakers, practitioners, and the broader public on developments in Muslim countries and communities and on the nature of their relationships with the United States. Together with the affiliated Brookings Doha Center in Qatar, the project sponsors a range of events, research projects, and publications designed to educate and foster constructive engagement and frank dialogue between the United States and global Muslim communities. Through its scholarship and activities, the project upholds the Brookings Institution’s commitment to independence, impact, and quality of research.


The underlying goal of the project is to continue the Brookings Institution’s original mandate to serve as a bridge between scholarship and public policy. The project seeks to bring new knowledge to decision makers and opinion-leaders, as well as offer scholars, analysts, and the public better insight into a diverse range of policy issues. Its activities include:

  • Events with political, academic, and civil society leaders
  • Policy-relevant research and analysis
  • Briefings with policymakers
  • Frequent media commentary and analysis


  • The U.S.-Islamic World Forum: a premier gathering of U.S. and Muslim world leaders in the fields of politics, business, media, academia, and civil society to promote greater understanding and advance constructive partnerships. The Forum provides a high-level platform for thoughtful engagement on critical issues in America’s relationship with Muslim communities around the world. The 2010 Forum included a video message from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton spoke at both the 2010 and 2011 forums.
  • Rethinking Political Islam: a systemic examination of the evolution of mainstream Islamist groups across 12 country cases. The project engages scholars of political Islam through in-depth research and dialogue to consider how the Arab uprisings and their aftermath have shaped—and in some cases altered—the strategies, agendas, and self-conception of Islamist movements.
  • Muslims in the West: a focus on the diverse experience of Muslim communities in the United States and Europe, expanding the scope of the discourse beyond the traditional security lens.
  • Publications: groundbreaking research and analysis examining the state of U.S.-Muslim world relations.


Our team includes experienced and knowledgeable scholars conducting original research and bringing keen insight and fresh perspectives to bear on the critical challenges facing the Middle East today and on the policy choices facing American and regional decision makers.

Senior Fellow and Director: William McCants
Senior Fellow: Shadi Hamid
Visiting Fellow: Robert L. McKenzie
Nonresident Senior Fellows: Stephen R. Grand, Eric RosandCynthia SchneiderShibley Telhami
Assistant Director: Anne Peckham
Research Assistant: Rashid Dar
Staff Assistant: Dana Hadra

The project conveners are Martin IndykTamara Cofman WittesShibley Telhami, and Bruce Riedel.

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